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Sunday, March 17, 2024

Two Big Wins, Softball and Lacrosse - Sunday Cardinal Couple


(All photos from Jared Anderson)

Two big wins yesterday, one each for Lacrosse and Softball.  But "Big Wins" means a bit different thing for each of them.

You can always tell it's a big game
based on the bench's reaction.
Lacrosse bested 20th ranked Clemson, 13-12.  The Tigers are only in their second year of play in lacrosse, but have hit the scene in a big way.  Entering the game, they were 6-2 overall, and holding that 20th ranking nationally.

We need a streak check first, though.  Yes, Nicole Perroni continued her consecutive game scoring streak, in fact she started off the scoring for the Cards with only two and a half minutes elapsed in the game.  It was, however, an answer to Clemson's opening score.  The Tigers would get a couple more in the 1st quarter, and those would be answered by Kylea Dobson and Rian Adkins wrapping the 1st quarter tied 3-3.

Negai Nakazawa celebrates one of
Nicole Perroni's goals.
The offenses, and particularly the Clemson offense, got in gear in the 2nd quarter, however.  Two and a half minutes in to the quarter Allegra Catelano answered Clemson's opening minute goal.  For the rest of the quarter, however, Clemson would maintain most of the control, outscoring the Cards 6-2, with the scoring run only broken up by the Nakazawa sisters.  Kokoro scored without about nine and a half minutes left in the quarter, and Negai with about seven.  The halftime score was 10-6.

Combine the 2nd quarter run with the opening goal in the 3rd quarter and the Cards would reach their biggest deficit of the game, 11-6.

From about the 11 minute mark in the 3rd quarter, however, the Teeter squad would finish the game on a 7-1 run.  Kokoro kicked off the scoring with her 2nd goal, and Adkins would also get her 2nd.  Lauren Figas would get her name in the stat sheet, and Izzy Seikel would get a pair in the run.  Perroni would also add another couple for the hat trick.

Kokoro Nakazawa has never said that
this game is easy.
With Perroni's score with about four minutes left in the game, it became mostly a game of keepaway for the Cards.  With Clemson getting increasingly frustrated, and eventually drawing a green card resulting in a free position play.  Perroni, however, backed the ball out and continued the game of keepaway, to wrap the game up on a power play.

Goal duties was split between Sara Adeche starting and playing about 20 minutes before J Pleck came in and finished out the other 40.  Adeche had a fine outing, with three save, but allowed five goals.  But it was Pleck that really wowed.  They only allowed three goals against, and snagged seven saves, a very good showing, indeed.

You can catch Jared's interview with Head Coach Scott Teeter and J Pleck at:

Lacrosse will be back in action on Thursday against Liberty in Lynchburg.  They'll be back at the LLS on March 27th hosting Xavier.


Softball also had a big game yesterday, as mentioned, but in a bit different sense of the words.  The opponent, Michigan, isn't ranked, but the Cards would ultimately win the game by a big margin, 12-4.

Hosting the Cardinal Classic, a series of 11 games starting Thursday and finishing today, the Cards are only playing in 1 of those games per day.  Spare a thought for those staffing the event as this makes for an extremely long weekend for them.  Chief among them is Assistant Sports Information Director and Cardinal Couple favorite Lori Korte.  She not only fulfills the SID role, but she's also the overall coordinator for the event, and chief scorer.  A woman of many talents, a tip of the hat for Lori.

Alyssa Zabala found her groove after
the first inning.
Back to the game, however.  The first started out terrible for the Cards.  Alyssa Zabala started in the circle and clearly had just stepped off the strugglebus.  The first three batters up for Michigan singled, walked, and reached on an error to load the bases up.  A pop-up froze the runners for the first out, but it was still a dire situation with bases loaded and only a single out.  The next batter would make contact, but quick thinking and a quick throw by Bailee Richardson at 3rd would get the lead runner out at home, keeping the Wolverines off the scoreboard, but leaving the bases loaded.  I think it was then that the Alyssa that we know finally showed up, fanning the last batter to get out of the jam.

After that, things settled down pretty well for Zabala and she pitched the type of game that we have come to expect from her.

The Cards would threaten in the bottom of the 1st, getting Paige Geraghty around to 3rd base, but couldn't get her home.  It wasn't until the 2nd that the Cards would get going on the scoreboard.

Gabby Holloway rounding third for a
home run.  Which one? You'll have to
ask photographer Jared.

It was a simple, but still quite impressive scoring situation.  Richardson singled out to left center, and then Gabby Holloway (batting as the designated player) blasted the cover off the ball right down the left field line, staying just fair.  I think the ball was later retrieved from the far side of the roundabout at Floyd and Brandeis.

2-0 was the score at 2 innings.  Not bad, to be sure, but then the 3rd inning happened.
The inning started out with a fly out, but then Riley Frizell got a double.  Frizell is not one of the speedsters on the team, so Pickle Winkler came in to pinch run for her.  That speed will be important in a moment.  Vanessa Miller singled, and Pickle would use that speed to score from 2nd.  Vanessa Miller tried to steal second, but was easily beaten by the throw and tagged arriving at the base.  Fortunately the pitch was a fourth ball and the attempted steal and tag officially never happened, instead she advances to second on the walk.

Gabby Holloway came back up for her 2nd at-bat and basically more of the same, just this time, she lifted the ball to right center instead of down the left field line.  The three run homer makes the score 6-0.  In your best infomercial voice, "But that's not all!"  After Michigan brought out a new pitcher, Ally Alexander drew a four pitch walk, Kiley Goff gets hit by a pitch, and then Chelsea Mack laid down an absolutely beautiful bunt on the first pitch of her at-bat, and seven pitches into the new pitcher, the Cards go from empty bases to loaded.
Paige Geraghty, after mostly clearing
the bases with a big triple.

Paige Geraghty comes to the plate.  Now she's a slap hitter, and not known for getting much power, so defenses tend to pull way in when she comes to bat.  So she promptly slaps it, gets a nice bouncer that bounces over the center fielder and the ball rolls at the way to the fence.  While not known for power, Geraghty is rather well known for her speed and legs out a triple, driving home the other three runners.  The score is now 9-0.

Riley Frizell rounding third clearly
worried about whether there was any
damage to the car on Brandeis.
Geraghty would use her speed again, scoring on a wild pitch during Daisy Hess's at-bat.  Hess would eventually draw a walk.  Now, we've gone all the way around the lineup and more, but that necessitates re-entering Frizell in place of Pickle.  Now you might be tempted to ask why not just let Pickle bat?  Well, we can't know how well she would've done, but it certainly wouldn't have been any better than Frizell who's shot hit a car on Brandeis.  The Cards would get another couple of base runners, but nothing more across.  But that's hardly worth worrying about after an inning of 10 runs on 7 hits.  The score after three was 12-0.

Vanessa Miller, catching everything in
right field.
Michigan would get a run in the top of the 4th, a homer onto the upper berm in right center, but things would get a bit tense in the 5th.  Brooke Gray entered to pitch in the 5th.  A runner reached on a error, then Vanessa Miller caught a pair of flies, one foul, one fair, down the right field line to get to two outs.  Michigan needs four runs to avoid the run-rule here in the 5th.  A four pitch walk puts a 2nd runner on base and then Michigan would bomb a three run homer to straight away center.  The score is 12-4, which would still invoke the run-rule, but any more rules would avoid it.  Fortunately, Gray got the strike out to end the game.

This was a dominant performance, other than the first part of that 1st inning, from a team that clearly took the loss to Illinois to heart.

You can see the post-game, where Jared chats with Riley Frizell and Gabby Holloway where they talk about coming together as a team after the Illinois loss.  Also, enjoy the clear camaraderie between these two:
The Cards (and staff) will wrap up the Cardinal Classic today at 5pm in a rematch against Illinois.  Despite having earlier games, it's quite likely this one will start at 5pm as the schedule has left extra time before this game.  That's a TV call as it will be on ACC Network linear and they wanted to be sure that it would start on time.


Yep, it's that time, for everyone to speculate on where your favorite teams will be placed in the NCAA tournament bracket.  For everyone to complain about the easy run that UConn will undoubtedly have, again.  For everyone to sit on the edge of their seats on whether some of their favorites will even get in to the tournament.

To be clear, it doesn't appear Louisville is in any danger of missing out altogether, Charlie Creme has us as a six seed playing opening rounds in Corvallis OR...surely we can get a better location than that.  I'm sure Corvallis is lovely, but traveling two thirds of the way across the country for the tournament is not ideal.

The nail biter for CardNation will mostly be on behalf of former Cardinal Assistant Coach Sam Purcell, now helming the Mississippi State Bulldogs, that Creme has listed as the first team not to make the tournament.  The Dogs have played well down there, and there certainly is an energy and excitement in that program, could there be any doubt with Purcell at the helm, and it would be a shame for them to miss out on this.

Other bracketology placements of note from Creme:
  • Defending National Champs LSU is a two seed
  • South Carolina, surprising no one, is the top overall seed
  • 9 current ACC teams make the bracket, plus Stanford joining next year

I certainly don't claim to have any better insights than someone like Creme, who does this as a full time job, would have.  But of course, that won't stop others from expressing opinions.  What say you?  Let's hear your thoughts in the comments.

We'll do the $25 gifr card selecion in the Cardinal Couple Bracket Challenge again, winner gets to choose from a Cracker Barrel or Wagner's Card...Per Paulie

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

And finally, four for the CCRHP yesterday, with Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself making the call.  Softball, Lacrosse, and Basketball made the discussion topics, as expected.

Check it out at:



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